If you and your spouse are thinking about getting a divorce, and every conversation up to this point has felt like a never-ending battle for control, it is only natural to feel like you need to make the first move. In other words, file for divorce first.
But is there a strategic advantage to doing so?
We get asked this question a lot, so here is our honest advice on the matter.
In Texas, it legally makes no difference who is the petitioner (the person who files first) and who is the respondent (the party who must respond to the divorce petition). Sure, striking first may give you the feeling of, “Hey, I am protecting myself and now have the upper hand.” But there are no guarantees that filing for divorce first ensures everything that happens next falls in your favor.
You certainly do not get brownie points with the judge, whose job is to fairly consider all factors when making a ruling.
On top of that, filing first in and of itself has no bearing on potential custody decisions.
With that said, there are a few intangible benefits
Anyone who takes the reins during what is undoubtedly a difficult time in their life should be applauded. And many would argue that there are a few intangible benefits when you file for divorce first.
Filing first can be a confidence booster
As we alluded to earlier, taking control of the situation is empowering and provides a small confidence boost. And when it comes to divorce, any bit of extra confidence is a plus. After all, divorce is a significant, life-changing event. For most people, the emotional toll of the death of the relationship is magnified by the stress of the unfamiliarity of the legal process, coupled with fears about the outcome. So if you know divorce is the answer, filing first may help you emotionally.
Should you file for divorce first, you could be giving yourself more time to prepare than if you were the respondent. Use that time to mentally prepare for the journey ahead, logically plan how you will care for your children post-divorce, and how you will make important decisions about paying for the divorce. Preparing for divorce also includes creating a budget, gathering financial records and other relevant paperwork, etc.
You get the last word
When you file for divorce first, you get to speak first and set the stage. You also generally have the right to have the last word before the judge makes their decision. This can be a significant factor in some circumstances.
Call Nelson Law Group today!!
If divorce is the answer, you need a trusted advisor to guide you through each stage of your divorce and help you deal with the stress that naturally comes with that. We work diligently to achieve a result that ensures you receive what you are entitled to as you move forward onto the next stage of your life. The Nelson Law Group brings nearly two decades of experience in family law to each and every case.
Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC, a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue. Our staff is always available. Give us a call today! For more information about Brett A Nelson, click here.